From grades 6-12, I was a choir geek, and there was an unspoken rivalry between choir and band/orchestra geeks. So my exposure to classical music has been almost nil. Not just because band geeks may as well have been a different species, but my attention span cannot handle listening to long, orchestral pieces no matter how beautifully done. There are a few exceptions (GF Handel's Messiah holds a special place in my heart), but I think it's safe to say that it just generally isn't my thing.
That having been said, I purchased The Queen Collection by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. And really, it isn't bad, but I've maybe only listened to it twice.
The Queen Symphony by Tolga Kashif, however, is totally amazing! I mean, Brian and Roger just handed this guy the ENTIRE QUEEN CATALOGUE and let him do whatever he wanted! And he did fucking amazing things with it! Keep in mind I do not like classical music! But holy shit! My favorite part is in the third movement, the violin solo for Who Wants To Live Forever. It's just so beautifully done that I can't accurately describe it.
I also don't consider myself a fan of opera. But being a Freddie fan, I did add Barcelona to my collection (the first copy was a gift from a friend in KS, USA. The second came part of the Solo CD Collection I got for Christmas some years ago). But yes, this album is beautiful, too. Having read Peter Freestone's book, [SPOILER ALERT] knowing that Freddie was sure this would be his last musical contribution to the world helped make it the fucking brilliant album it is. And Montserrat Caballe` has a fantastic voice and I have much respect for her. But even so, I'm not an opera fan. I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who's ever seen the movie Philadelphia and not cried while Tom Hanks cried over the opera he was listening to.
I think what makes Barcelona so accessible to me is not that Freddie thought he was going to kick the bucket sooner than he actually did, but that it's formatted like a pop album (read: The tracks aren't each 20 minutes long, or whatever). And also! Freddie managed to combine opera, pop and gospel! That's too badass for words! I mean that with all sincerity! The Golden Boy is my favorite track on the album!
And speaking of Freddie, if you can, I think it would rock if you could donate to The Mercury Phoenix Trust or participate in Freddie For A Day (September 3 this year). Since his birthday is coming up and all... But hey, no pressure.